“You must love being your own boss.”
“It must be great running your own company.”
“I bet you make a lot more money now that you’re the boss!”
“A lot less stress, huh?”
These and a few others are some of the well-meaning but uninformed comments I’ve heard in the last month as I re-launched my company, Arkside Marketing.
I fully admit that there have been many moments of pride, excitement, enthusiasm, and optimism on this journey. But it has absolutely not been stress-free or easy. Despite the fact that this is not my first trip down the road of entrepreneurial employment, it is the most challenging and fluid in my life. Let me explain what it means to be an entrepreneur.
The Sleepless Entrepreneur
If you are currently an entrepreneur or considering that path, I hope you are embarking into something for which you are passionate. You need an innovative product or service that you wholeheartedly support and understand. If that is the case, you can forget sleep. Your life is built around ideas, meetings, deadlines, expectations of others, regulations, taxes, paperwork, and inspirations.
Guess what? They don’t all arrive between 8am and 5pm.
If you love what you do, you will have dreams about the company. You will have nightmares about every client firing you on the same day. There will be projects you didn’t plan, schedules you have to move, people you want to meet, solutions that pop up from simple inspirations, and contracts that need to be signed. Oh, and don’t forget those all-import “to do” lists. You’ll be making those until your fingers bleed.
The Organized Entrepreneur
If you love paperwork, be an entrepreneur. Vendor contracts, employee paperwork, tax documents, accounting, bills, receipts, notes, and client documents will have you in a never-ending sea of paperwork.
You get to organize it however you want and that presents a whole new challenge: where to put it all. You have the esteemed privilege of creating your own filing system for all of these various categories of “stuff” and make sure that all documents are properly filed throughout the day. Every day. By everyone who works for you.
I suppose it isn’t fair for me to only talk about “paperwork”. This same organization requirement applies to all of your digital documentation as well. Apparently, if you put all this “stuff” in the “cloud” it can still rain back down on you. Darn.
The Rich Entrepreneur
Between 50% and 75% of all new businesses fail within the first 1-5 years (the published statistics vary widely). The entrepreneur community is one that wants to make a difference and make a profit at the same time. Both of those goals take time.
Your company (and you) may not turn a profit for the first 2-3 years. You are incurring substantial costs and it will take time to grow your company.
I’m not rich and I’m not making a ton of money with a brand new company. But this is where patience is a virtue because short term victories are stepping stones to long term success. I knew that going in and I’m prepared to live on ramen noodles for a while to reach bigger goals.
Are You An Entrepreneur?
If you have a passion for a new and innovative product or service, are ready to make some difficult choices, raise some money, and throw your life into a tailspin, you might be an entrepreneur. Someone in a multi-level marketing scheme or network marketing endeavor is NOT an entrepreneur. They are a salesperson. Don’t get me started.
Personally, I look forward to helping organizations achieve their goals through marketing. I enjoy the challenge and exploration of new solutions for each custom project. Despite all the hurdles, I also enjoy growing my company, offering people employment opportunities, and being an active part of my community.
I signed on for the benefits and challenges of being an entrepreneur. I’m okay with that. My new venture is not stress free and I’m not instantly wealthy. But it is great running my own company.